A Loss Like No Other
No. When you’re young and lose a parent, it’s a loss like no other. It’s not like losing a Grandparent that lived a long and beautiful life. It’s a bitter loss. An unfair loss. You are still so young, you still need your parents. It’s a loss that takes you for all you have and leaves you blinded by pain. It’s a loss that leaves you doubting life, doubting things that you could have, should have, done. I should have called more. I should have visited more. I wish I was different. I could have helped. It’s a loss that leaves you thinking these thoughts. They are cruel thoughts; constantly reeling through your brain like a hamster on a wheel. It can eat you up if you let it. Don’t let it.
It’s a loss that not everyone understands until they go through it. Meeting someone else that has lost a parent feels soothing; almost like you can open the floodgates and talk for hours about feelings, memories, and the past. You may know a few of these people and you keep them close to you. You now, unfortunately, are a member of an unspoken club and we have to stick together.
And then the birthdays happen. You spend the whole day wishing that you could call them on their birthday. You spend time wishing that you called all those previous years. You spend the whole day thinking about them. You may visit their grave or a place they loved to be at while here on Earth. You may look at pictures, listen to old voice mails, or do something kind for a stranger in their honor. Whatever it may be, this day is hard for you. Their birthday is another constant reminder that they aren’t here with you.
And then comes the anniversary of their death. It never gets easier. It may be one year, it may be ten years. It’s still hard. Instead of making it a sad day, you want to smile, so maybe you do something kind for a stranger. Maybe you plant some flowers, visit with a friend, or just sit on your sofa and cry. That is perfectly alright, too. You can cry today. Just cry. You can still grieve, it doesn’t have to be a fresh loss, you can grieve for as long as you need to.
That leaves me with one last thought, my friend. You don’t have a time limit on your grief. You can take this process for as long as you need to. It takes time. You may never get over it. It’s been a little over two years for me and I am still grieving. I’m not crying every day, but I am still grieving in my own way. And that’s fine. There may always be a piece of your heartbroken from this loss. I want you to know that it’s okay. I hope you find something that repairs that broken piece. I truly believe that my sons were placed on this Earth to fill my broken piece. My loss still hurts. I grieve in my own way, and you can too. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human.
So I’m closing this letter with a final goodbye. I want to tell you, my friend, that I know what it’s like. All of it. The heartbreak, gut-wrenching sadness, grief, “what-ifs”, and blame. I know it all too well. You are never alone in this. And I wish that I could tell you that it gets better, but I’m still waiting for that myself.
A version of this piece originally appeared at excuse-the-mess.com, published with permission.